"Should we accept only good things the hand of God and never anything bad?"
How alien (to the way we think) are these words from Job - right at the lowest point in his life!
Humans regularly experience peaks and troughs in life. My observation is that some of us even behave in the following way: chasing highs and embracing hype – then dipping or crashing into periods of emotional listlessness or complaint or lethargy or anger or anxiety.
In short, we want life and (because of the marketing we've believed) expect life to be lived on the mountaintop, expending massive emotional physical temporal financial resources in that pursuit.
In natural systems (e.g. tides, weather, the rhythm of our bodies) and human systems (e.g. economies, fashion, popularity, sporting competitions), there are always peaks and troughs, highs and lows, booms and busts. Usually the greater the high, the greater the low when the 'bubble bursts' – though this is not always true since higher rainfall is not necessarily followed by drought.
Humans are at least preoccupied with the peak and shun the trough to the point of sometimes labelling the latter unfair. So the sensations of
- a full stomach,
- chemical high,
- a huge cash payout,
- an experience of God’s glory or power,
- the first episode of a favourite TV show’s new season,
- purchasing a new item,
- receiving a gift,
- having life 'run smoothly' for a while
– these all represent the mountain top –and truthfully we want life to be comprised of nothing else but these kinds of highs.
I have to keep reminding myelf that this desire is unreasonable, since it is in denial of several facts:
- The universe that God designed is cyclical by nature (e.g. the body cannot exercise all day but needs recuperation; it cannot rain all year nor be sunny all year without severe damage to the environment and its inhabitants)
- The effects of sin on earth are such that they have destroyed equilibrium (e.g. our greed has adversely affected weather patterns and the quality of our food; the rich continue to get richer at the expense of the poor)
- The Bible reveals that God is far more interested in our character than our comfort and avoids ‘spoiling’ in favor of disciplining/shaping us.
This longing for continual highs also touches on another issue: our tendency to expect more and more and more …
Give me a job at $60,000 a year and today I will rejoice in my blessing … but this time next year I will be complaining that 60K is just not enough!
Give me sex every day and I will soon be bored with what last week was like being in heaven (although I'd be happy to test that and see if it's true...)
Give me the presence of God at my beck and call, and I will soon become complacent arrogant and overindulged - I will devalue even Him…